Archive for the ‘Ind-Eng 06’ Category

Twice lucky

India won another close call at Faridabad and managed to go up 2-0 in the ongoing 7-match ODI series against England. But despite the two wins, the signs are not too good and India needs to make some quick amendments to its thinking, strategising and execution to ensure that luck does not desert them.

This was the second time in as many ODIs that the lower order had to win the match and the third consecutive when when the batting failed (counting the last Test). One missing name in the line-up seems to have quite a negative impact on the entire team. Whatever is wrong with Sehwag is a mystery. He just seems to lack any motivation at the moment. And Gautam Gambhir, for all his talent, seems to get bored and throws his wicket away. Doesn’t he get it? This is his big chance in international cricket and if he cannot cement his place right now, he doesn’t deserve to be in the team.

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Like monsoon follows summer,

like winter follows monsoon,

like a boy follows a girl,

like a dog follows its master,

like a politicial follows votes,

like the weatherman goes wrong,

like a politician lies,

like controversy follows salman khan,

like salman khan follows aishwarya rai,

like life goes on,like death follows life,

like I follow cricket…

the Indian team will have an inexplicible match

and it will lose.

But I will still follow cricket.

And India will still lose.

Again. And again. And again.

Well, Blimey!

One day that I cannot watch the game, and it’s hell! What’ve you guys done?!? First, India’s inability to polish off the tail is back with a bang (it was showing signs of a resurgence since the Pak tour) as is the well… fear of opening, shall we say?

Sehwag has fallen disastrously to swing on two occasions already. And he does need to spend some time cleaning up his act a bit. I also hope that some experts tell him the same and not keep protecting him by saying “that’s the way he plays”. There are times when, as a senior player and vice-captain, Sehwag needs to put up his hand and take responsibility. This is not gully cricket where you will still open the batting in hopes of that one elusive super innings. The worst part of his second innings dismissal was that he took 13 balls for 0 and fell to a perfectly set field. No thinking happening there.

Also interesting is the step in the stride of all former English captains, players and  so-called tacticians of the game. Apparently, in their expert opinion, India was ‘guilty’ of letting the game drift around on the fourth day. “This is negative”, said Nasser Hussain. Yes. The same gentleman who decided to bowl negative to the entire Indian batting line-up just so he could pick up some wickets. But that time, it did not matter… with a mic in hand, it needs to be an ideal world.

What is really sad in this is the way Indian commentators line up with the goras. It’s not funny actually. Almost like a puppy in tow, Javagal Srinath and Laxman Sivaramakrisnan go yes, yes, yes… Where are the real commentators… the Gavaskars, Shastris, Bhogles and even the Manjrekars?
The Indian fielding was appaling. As was the bowling and the overall appearance on the field. They seemed like they would have rather been anywhere else.Sure England has outplayed India and are (still at 11 am, they are) on the verge of a win. But let’s not write off this much vaunted Indian batting line-up just yet.

They may just decide to turn up and score today. Who knows… cricket is a game of uncertainties!

Day 2: England?

ENG: 393 all out; IND: 136/1

It would be difficult to say which team has the advantage at this point. England battled very hard through Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison (batting!) to post a more than respectable 393 in the first innings. While most pundits, fans and Indians would have hoped that India restrict the English to under 300, Collingwood had other ideas.

His assault on Pathan and Harbhajan were especially noteworthy. It just sends a message that he is not afraid of either spin or swing—the two real weapons in India’s armoury. Of course, he was aided by some listless bowling but full credit to the way he attacked and indeed guided the tail.

It means that the rest of the England team has something to crow about. And that they did. Pietersen seemed to be in his element when he caught Sehwag for just 2. India at that point was just 11 and England perhaps sensed a real chance. But enter the Wall. And he stood firm. He defended and defended and defended. And then defended some more. Contrary to belief (well at least mine anyway), the pitch was not at its best today. This can only be bad news for the remaining 3 days and further emphasises the fact that India should look to bat only once.

Dravid apart, Wasim Jaffer also impressed (finally!). With his maiden Test 50 out of the way, he should be looking to go on. That there is a long and distinguished batting line-up to follow would also put Indian minds at ease. But at 136-1, India would seem to have the slight upper hand. But then, it will take only 2 or 3 good balls.

At the moment, it looks to be fairly even. Tomorrow holds the key.

If the English supporters at the VCA ground in Nagpur are not the Barmy Army, where are they? In any case, they don’t seem to be too popular among the other English supporters. Wonder why!

ENG: 246/7 (Cook 60, Collingwood 53*; Pathan 3/52, Sreesanth 2/56) 

A. Cook 

As expected, India pretty much controlled Day 1 of the first Test at Nagpur, but not without some stoic resistance from the England top and middle order. Unfortunately for the hosts, no one went on to make a big score, but they could have been worse off had debutante Alistair Cook not scored his 60.

Apart from Cook, there were the two Andrews (Flintoff and Strauss) who got starts, but could not go on to make an impact. Paul Collingwood is still there on 53 but he is extremely lucky to have got a nick on a Kumble special flipper!

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Most of the English supporters seem to be throwing into the towel even before the series is truly underway. But the batting performance of the team on the first morning has not been as bad as was being predicted. They held their own to reach a respectable 89-2 at lunch. Not too bad, I say.

One of the most surprising ‘give up’ notes was by Geoff Boycott. I was surprised to read Sir Geoffrey say, “…and given the current state of the England squad, I am afraid the conclusion to the series may be foregone…” referring to the result of the series in India’s favour.

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Welcome, Poms!


Down and Out?

Down and out?

Yes, I am a touch late in welcoming the Poms to India but that’s because I was busy saying goodbye to the Pakistan team (lot of consoling that took after the ODIs!). Moreover, the Poms were busy enjoying the hospitality of India on and off the field.

On the field, they succeeded in winning their first 3-day match on the last day and to be honest, most of them sounded rather surprised that they won. Coach Duncan Fletcher, in fact, went to the extent of saying “We did not plan to win”. Now that’s a first.

Off the field, four of five of the visiting party decided to indulge themselves in some of the local cuisine. Not very advisable, let me add what with the bird flu and all around. But no… some of them decided to live dangerously. There are currently four English players on the bench with a case of “Delhi Belly”! (In addition, there are already a couple injured!).

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